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Louisiana Coronavirus Updates: 370 deaths, 10,297 cases statewide

Gov. Edwards warns that hospitals could be over capacity soon, and urges people to continue social distancing.

NEW ORLEANS — Latest Numbers:

  • 370 deaths (+60) 
  • 10,297 total cases (+1,147)
  • 1,707 patients hospitalized (+68)
  • 535 in need of ventilators (+28)
  • 61 of 64 parishes reporting cases 
  • 53,645 tests completed (+2,559)

Key Updates:

  • Louisiana remains one of the states hardest hit by the new coronavirus in the country, registering 370 deaths and 10,300 cases of the disease after what the governor warned would be a "huge spike" of roughly 40% in new cases yesterday. 
  • Governor John Bel Edwards says the state is working to better track tests that have been lagging behind for nearly two weeks for some commercial labs, causing a significant problem for health officials in understanding the spread, and eventual peak, of the pandemic in Louisiana.
  • Edwards' Stay-at-Home order, first mandated on March 22, has officially been extended until April 30 to curb the spread of the virus. 
  • The first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced in Louisiana on March 9 in New Orleans, 25 days ago. 

Read yesterday's live blog here

Slidell sets nightly curfew 'until further notice'

Slidell city leaders issued a mandatory curfew that will begin Friday night and will be in effect until further notice. The curfew begins at 11 p.m. and ends at 5 a.m.

Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal said that there has been significant police activity during the late evening and early morning hours which could potentially expose officers to COVID-19. Fandal asked residents who are not conducting essential business or going to work to stay home.

"I am ready more than anyone to get my life back to normal. But we can't until we flatten this damn curve," Fandal said.

Coronavirus cases reported at 61 Louisiana nursing homes

Health officials say that cases of the coronavirus disease have been reported in 61 of Louisiana’s 436 nursing homes as of Friday.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, a total of 261 patients within nursing homes have reported having COVID-19. Another 60 nursing home patients have died from the disease since the outbreak began on March 9.

224 of the 370 deceased from COVID-19 in Louisiana have been 70 years of age or older. The most infected age by caseload is 50-59, which account for more than 1/5 of all confirmed cases in the state.

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60 more Louisianans dead from coronavirus Friday 

There are now 370 people dead in the state from COVID-19 and 1,707 hospitalized. Of those being treated, 535 are in need of a ventilator to stave off the deadly respiratory symptoms of the new disease. 

The Louisiana Department of Health reported 60 new deaths Friday, Louisiana's highest single-day loss to date, 35 of which came out of the Orleans/Jefferson Parish metro area. 

There are now 10,297 confirmed cases out of 53,645 tests recorded by the LDH, although Gov. Edwards has said his administration is now more focused on the hospitalization and death rates in the state given continued problems with test reporting. 

Still, of the 1,147 new cases processed Friday, 645 (well half) came from the metro area. 

Cases by parish (SE Louisiana):

  • Orleans: 3,476 cases, 148 deaths
  • Jefferson: 2,495 cases, 85 deaths
  • St. John: 290 cases, 17 deaths
  • East Baton Rouge: 389 cases, 13 deaths
  • St. Charles: 210 cases, 11 deaths
  • St. Tammany: 435 cases, 10 death
  • St. Bernard 197 cases, 7 deaths
  • St. James: 116 cases, 4 death
  • Plaquemines: 75 cases, 4 deaths
  • Lafourche: 185 cases, 3 deaths
  • Terrebonne: 102 cases, 2 deaths
  • Washington: 57 cases, 2 death
  • Tangipahoa: 55 cases, 1 deaths

68 new patients were admitted to a Louisiana hospital for COVID-19 treatment, bringing the total to 1,707. Those in need of ventilators increased by 28 patients. 

Those numbers, which have fluctuated significantly this week, have not shown an upward trend in the amount of people being hospitalized -- although those numbers are not going down, either. 

A bit of relief for the metro hospital system did come Friday, as the number of ventilators and hospital beds not only didn't jump, but improved marginally. 

The amount of intensive care beds available, however, marginally got worse. 

NOPD Chief: There's so much more we must to do flatten the curve 

Speaking outside the New Orleans Police Headquarter on Friday morning, NOPD Chief Shaun Ferguson pleaded to the public to stop gatherings, however small, and stay inside during the pandemic.  

According to the superintendent, the NOPD has received more than 800 calls reporting gatherings around the city to their 311 permitting hotline in the past weeks. 

Ferguson said almost all of these gatherings were informal meeting between a few people that were broken up by officers without incident. He said residents are mostly "doing what southerns do," spending quality time together, but are at too close a distance.  

"There's so much more we must do to flatten the curve," he said.

Ferguson said the beautiful weather has also made things harder for people to resist going outside and gathering with each other. 

Curfew is not off the table, but Friday was a plea with business owners and citizens to work with the police so they don't have to "escalate" their enforcement to that, he said. 

"Ride your bike, take a walk, but do it while social distancing. Get out, get your exercise and get back in," he said.  "There's so much more that we can and must do to flatten this curve." 

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Lafourche Parish closes all non-essential businesses, limits 1 shopper per family

Lafourche Parish leaders have significantly increased parish-wide social distancing restrictions, closing all non-essential businesses, limiting essential business hours and limiting one shopper per family in stores.  

Starting Sunday at 6 a.m., non-essential businesses like clothing stores, boutiques and other retailers in Lafourche must close indefinitely. 

Big box and grocery stores will remain open but must limit their hours to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and limit shoppers to one individual per family buying essentials. 

Mechanic/auto shops, banks and restaurants will also remain open but adhere to social distancing measures. Restaurants will have to use curbside pick up and delivery only, and auto shops must close their lobbies.

Daycare centers and golf courses will also remain open. Golfers will only be able to drive one person per cart or do walking play only. 

According to a WWL-TV analysis, the parish has the highest number of cases per capita in the state, beating out Orleans Parish and other metro areas.
Lafourche Parish has 1237.5 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people. The parish's population as of the 2010 census was just over 94,000.

While neighboring Terrebonne Parish announced a nightly curfew yesterday, Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre said they would be holding off on such a measure, saying it would not be effective against stopping the spread of the disease.

40 JPSO deputies tested positive for COVID-19

About 40 Jefferson Parish Sheriff Office deputies have tested positive for COVID-19, Sheriff Joe Lopinto said during a press conference Thursday.

JPSO deputies include civil employees who work behind the scenes, not just armed law enforcement officers, Lopinto said.

"Right now, we're OK on operations," Lopinto said during a Thursday press conference. "We still have enough personnel handling calls-to-service."

The sheriff thanked law enforcement officers, dispatchers, emergency medical services workers and others for continuing to serve the Jefferson Parish community, emphasizing that residents can keep them safe by staying indoors.

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Hospital established fund to support nurse killed by COVID-19's family

New Orleans East Hospital has established a fund to help the family of a nurse killed by the coronavirus.

According to hospital officials, an Employee Wellness Fund was established in loving memory off Larrice Anderson, who passed away on March 31 due to complications from the coronavirus.

Anderson worked in the Intensive Care Unit, caring for the sickest patients.

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Legendary New Orleans high school football coach Wayne Reese Sr. dead at 74 from coronavirus

Longtime New Orleans coaching legend Wayne Reese Sr. died Thursday from the novel coronavirus.

He had been hospitalized and on a ventilator since last week.

He is one of Louisiana’s greatest high school football coaches. Most recently, at McDonogh 35, but you may remember back in 1992 when he was coaching a running back by the name of Marshall Faulk at George Washington Carver High School.

Coach Reese was respected on and off the field, but his greatest achievement may have been the family he helped raise.

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Grand Isle checkpoint turns non-residents away 

In a place known for its waterways and fishing, leaders in Grand Isle are reeling in who is allowed on the island. 

“Our number one priority is to protect our citizens of Grand Isle,” said Police Chief Laine Landry. 

Thursday, that protection was a 24-hour checkpoint. Grand Isle was the first area in Southeast Louisiana to implement such a measure to try and stop the spread of coronavirus. Only folks who call Grand Isle home and those with camps are allowed through. 

Chief Landry said with a population of about a thousand people, most of them elderly, this community is at risk.

“If this virus gets into our elderly community that lives here this could be devastating,” said Landry.

Read more 

Tools 

MORE: Drive-thru coronavirus test locations in Southeast Louisiana

MORE: Louisiana Coronavirus Outbreak Interactive Map

MORE: COVID-19 Timeline: See how fast things have changed in Louisiana

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.

Worldwide illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including severe pneumonia that can result in hospitalization or death. 

Older people and people with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease or cancer seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.

People with recent travel to China, or have come in contact with someone who has recent travel and is ill, have a greater risk for becoming ill.

What to do if you are sick:

If you recently traveled to an area affected by COVID-19 transmission, and you feel sick, stay home and call your doctor immediately. Do not go to the doctor without calling first.

If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, call the Louisiana Department of Health hotline at 1-855-523-2652. 

If you are severely ill and you think you need to go to the hospital, call 9-1-1 or go to an emergency room.

How to Prevent the Spread:

The virus is thought to spread between people in close contact (within 6 feet) and through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash hands with soap and water often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Especially wash hands after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Stay home if you feel sick to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Cover your cough with your elbow to prevent the spread of germs.

Treatments for COVID-19:

There are no medications specifically approved for COVID-19. People with coronavirus should be treated with supportive care to help relieve symptoms. 

Some severe cases require going to the hospital, particularly in the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.

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